Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Playing at Wembley is a problem for Tottenham

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 26 Nov 2017

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Prior to the start of the Premier League season, people asked the question can Tottenham get over their Wembley hoodoo?

In some ways, they have. However, as Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with West Brom illustrated, playing at the national stadium is proving a problem for the north London side.

While Mauricio Pochettino’s side have lost just one home Premier League game this season, they have also recorded just three wins from their seven league outings.

Tottenham have improved their record at Wembley slightly this season. However, no way is it the sort of home form of a team that will win the Premier League title.

Tottenham’s form at White Hart Lane

In many ways, Tottenham have been victims of their own success at White Hart Lane. The north London club had turned their old stadium into a fortress in the last few seasons.

In fact, Spurs won their last 14 home games in the Premier League at White Hart Lane. No team in the English top-flight liked visiting Tottenham, with teams like Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United all dispatched last season.

White Hart Lane was one of the toughest grounds in the Premier League to visit and teams felt lucky to escape with a point. Wembley just does not have the same intimidation factor about it.

Teams tend to come to Wembley, enjoy their trip and the occasion. Even when Tottenham have won home games this season, the victories have not all been as convincing as those at White Hart Lane.

Wembley concerns before the season

Title challenges and relative success, despite spending far less than their rivals have raised expectations among the Tottenham supporters. The impressive displays and results at White Hart Lane meant that Spurs fans just expected to come to home games and see their team win games.

However, Tottenham’s poor previous record at Wembley was always going to be a concern for the north London side. Those concerns were prevalent amongst the Spurs supporters at the beginning of the season.

Many fans and observers believed that Tottenham were genuine contenders to win the Premier League this season. However, the fact that their team were playing at Wembley for their home games always seemed to be a major obstacle in their title challenge.

Sometimes a team’s psychology can play a crucial part in what they can achieve in a season. Tottenham headed into the season with a terrible record Wembley, so it was always going to be difficult for Spurs to win at home on a regular basis.

Will be difficult for Tottenham to win the title this season

After Saturday’s game against West Brom, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino admitted that the gap between Spurs and leaders Manchester City is ‘massive’.

That is not negativity, but honesty from the Argentinian boss. Tottenham are now 10 ten points behind leaders City, who could extend that lead to 13 points with a win at Huddersfield later today.

The bookmakers certainly do not fancy Spurs’ chances of winning the title, as they are now 25/1 to win the league with some bookmakers.

Their relative struggles at Wembley will not be the major contributing factor if as expected they do not win the title. Spurs have not won the title in the previous two seasons and they played at White Hart Lane, so it not a deciding factor.

However, playing at the national stadium has not helped Spurs title charge. Tottenham now needs to concentrate on finishing in the top-four this season, as Wembley or no Wembley they are not quite good enough to win the league title.

Has playing at Wembley affected Tottenham’s campaign?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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